Hillary Babble On
Remember Los Alamos
Los Lobos
Garbage Out
Organ-ized Crime
Rebel With a Cause

Lazio in McCain Mode?
Hillary Babble On

No sooner did Rudy Giuliani announce that he would not seek the U.S. Senate seat from New York than Mandy Grunwald, Hillary's media consultant, was on Larry King Live declaring that the race with Rick Lazio would be all about "stature"—meaning the First Lady vs. the schmuck from Babylon. Not only is this the kind of approach that ignites Hillary-hatred, but it could backfire. Lazio's top media man is Mike Murphy, the architect of John McCain's upset win in New Hampshire. Already Lazio is barnstorming the state, and if he starts holding town meetings in the McCain mode, accompanied by the press, he could be off to a great start. If McCain jumps in, Hillary might face real grief. In New Hampshire, Bush—somewhat like Hillary in New York—appeared only in tightly controlled circumstances behind a flying squad of Texas Rangers, taking few questions. Hillary moves in and out of carefully crafted events behind a tight cordon of Secret Service agents.

At least Lazio has a congressional record. Hillary has no experience in public office. Thanks to Lazio's benefactor Al D'Amato, the Long Island congressman moved up the ladder quickly in Washington, and now sits on the powerful House Commerce Committee. And lest Hillary's aides try painting Lazio as a Gingrich stooge, it must be remembered that one of Newt's biggest allies was Bill Clinton, who stood shoulder to shoulder with the Speaker on welfare reform and trade issues.

Beyond this, the apparently squeaky-clean Lazio gives Hillary haters a new lease on life after revelations about Giuliani's affairs seemed to have neutralized sex scandals as campaign fodder. So the allegations that Hillary had an affair with the late Vince Foster now can be expected to resurface. In addition, suspicions still abound on the right about her involvement with the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, as well as in the firing of staffers in the White House Travel Office during Clinton's first term. The latter have been fueled recently by Special Prosecutor Robert Ray's hiring of new investigators to examine her role in Travelgate.

Nuclear Fears Follow Fire
Remember Los Alamos

On Monday, the feds were still trying to get a handle on the huge, purposely set Cerro Grande wildfire, which burned approximately 8000 acres and nearly overran a plutonium stockpile, endangering the public health in at least four states. Workers at Los Alamos National Laboratory spent the weekend digging pits to contain runoff from the nuclear lab that might be contaminated with radioactive or hazardous waste. They worry that it could wash into the Rio Grande.

During the 50 years that the lab has built and tested bombs and dumped nuclear waste, large amounts of depleted uranium and similar radionuclides have been dispersed into the area's soil and vegetation. Environmental observers say the lab has 1500 nuclear- and hazardous-waste sites—many in canyon areas that were swept by the fire. Now officials are worried that rains could set off flooding on the fire-ravaged mountain overlooking the lab. Flood waters coming out of the mountain canyons could also sweep contaminants into the Rio Grande system.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, whose reporters accompanied Senator Jeff Bingaman on a tour of the burned site last Friday, some of the most damaged areas in Los Alamos are the most highly secret, including a nuclear facility.

The fire also came within a half-mile of a site where hazardous waste is stored in drums under tents atop a mesa—waiting to be moved to underground caverns. Burn trails show it came within a few feet of the high concertina-wire fence that surrounds the lab's plutonium facility, the New Mexican said. Results of tests for nonradioactive chemicals, such as mercury, lead, and beryllium, will take several weeks to process, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Turner 1, Wolves 0
Los Lobos

In one of the sickest wildlife programs in recent memory, a Montana wolf pack that was caught feeding on cattle is being rounded up by helicopters manned by federal agents armed with dart guns and sent to media mogul Ted Turner's Flying D Ranch south of Bozeman, where they are to be fitted with electric shock collars. The idea is to jolt the wolves every time they go for a tasty morsel of cow. If the wolves shape up and stop killing the cattle, they will be allowed back on the range. Otherwise, the federal Fish and Wildlife Service will slaughter them.

This is one of the most questionable projects yet undertaken by the "Mouth" and his allies in the Fish and Wildlife Service. First, because the price of beef is at an all-time low, fewer cows mean higher prices. Second, Defenders of Wildlife, the environmental foundation, pays ranchers substantial sums for cows killed by wolves. Third, these gray wolves—from Alaska and Canada—were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995, and they wander north along the Yellowstone River to feed mostly on elk, deer, and other wildlife. There shouldn't be any cows in the river valley.

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